AOL Fills Gap in Video Business, Buys Syndicator 5Min Media

It wasn’t the acquisition news that many expected from AOL today, but the increasingly content-focused company has acquired 5min Media, a video distribution firm in New York.

5min Media takes video created by others and distributes it among its large network of publishers. The company claims a library of more than 200,000 videos from both well-known professional producers (CBS, Scripps) and smaller, independent studios, and a network of 800 partner sites. According to ComScore, its videos reached an audience of more than 20 million unique viewers and more than 130 million video streams in the U.S. last month.

The acquisition provides a logical compliment to AOL’s $36.5 million January purchase of StudioNow, a video–production house. AOL now has the infrastructure to create and distribute video on a mass scale.

“What we’re trying to build here is end-to-end capability for video,” said David Eun, president of AOL media and studios. “What 5min Media allows us to do is take out ability to create and distribute our content and extend it, so we’re able to syndicate our content to a wider array of sites. It also allows us to bring in third-party content to our sites.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Just last week, Tim Armstrong, chairman and CEO of AOL, said at a Goldman Sachs media conference that his company was placing a high priority on video. Eun mentioned that speech in explaining the 5min acquisition, and wouldn’t rule out the possibility of more acquisitions to come in the video space.

“This is a big priority for us, and we are going to be looking to make smart deals,” he said.

One deal that has been much speculated about this week is AOL’s possible acquisition of influential Silicon Valley technology blog TechCunch. Eun declined to comment on the speculation.

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